Balance tilts towards employees

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 March, 2011, 12:00am

The improvement in Hong Kong's economic climate means employees have started their merry-go-round seeking new job opportunities and better remuneration.

According to a Robert Half Workplace Survey, 94 per cent of employers in Hong Kong are concerned about losing top performers following the payout of bonuses in the first half of the year.

This percentage is well above the regional Asia-Pacific average of 75 per cent.

'As hiring in the finance industry heats up, employees have more employment options,' says Andrew Morris, managing director, Greater China, Robert Half International. 'To prevent top performers from jumping ship, companies may need to enhance their retention efforts, particularly if bonus payouts did not match staff expectations.'

Morris adds that offering competitive pay, setting realistic bonus expectations and outlining career paths for key players can help foster loyalty and prevent turnover, which can be costly to a company.

'There's a high price to turnover, both in terms of losing skills and institutional knowledge, as well as the time, effort and resources required to replace employees,' he says.

Robert Half's survey also found that as Asia-Pacific economies improve in the year ahead, it expected a hiring boom with 41 per cent of employers planning to add staff and 9 per cent expecting to reduce levels, resulting in a net 32 per cent projected hiring increase.

The survey found that in Hong Kong, a net 38 per cent of respondents say they plan to hire full-time finance and accounting professionals during the first half of this year and a net 35 per cent indicate that they will increase temporary or contract staff in the first half.

According to the survey, the top four functional areas in which Hong Kong employers planned to hire include accounting (54 per cent), finance (57 per cent), operational support (30 per cent) and banking (45 per cent).

The survey also found that it takes employers in Hong Kong an average of seven weeks to fill entry-level finance and accounting positions, and nine to 12 weeks to fill middle and senior management positions.

The survey also illustrates industry opinion on issues relating to the economy, hiring trends and workplace habits in accounting and finance roles across different business sectors.

The study was developed by Robert Half in conjunction with an independent research organisation.